NOV 21 – Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta
Heading into Road Atlanta, +MVT Racing welcomed another new addition to the team, Chris Nolte. Having already participated in prior Mermaids Charity Sprint Series events, Nolte made the switch from Porsche to Lamborghini and brought with him 2 podium finishes from Brands Hatch earlier in the season.
The opening practice session had Nolte taking the fastest lap ahead of Emily Howe, followed by Steven Carlile in P3, but qualifying would be slightly different. Pole position went to Howe, with Carlile in P2, Lia van Stevelen in P3, and Nolte sliding back to P4.
A good start by Howe allowed her to get ahead of the field quickly, and van Stevelen moved up into P2 with Carlile and Nolte just behind. The two +MVT drivers swapped positions as they tried to chase down the leaders as everyone approached their pit window.
Van Stevelen was the first of the leaders to pit on lap 17, moving Nolte and Carlile into P2 and P3. Carlile was next to pit, followed by Nolte and Howe. After the cycle of stops, Howe retained the lead by 5 seconds over Nolte, and Carlile moved ahead of van Stevelen for the final podium spot.
Howe stretched her lead slightly before taking the win in race 1 over Nolte in P2 and Carlile in P3.
With the field inverted for race 2, Daktota Canaday and Leah Nudle started on the front row, with Carlile, Nolte, and Howe starting in P7, P8, and P9. Matt Zee would be the 3rd entry for +MVT in race 2, starting from P11 as he missed the cutoff for race 1.
The +MVT cars wasted no time from the drop of the green flag, as Nolte moved into the lead on lap 4, with Carlile taking over P3, and Zee holding P6.
A 3-way battle for P2 ensued between Lilac Zier, Carlile, and Howe, as Nolte increased his lead to 5 seconds. Carlile and Howe both moved past Zier, and the two championship contenders pushed each other to the limit, with Howe ultimately making it past Carlile on lap 7.
Nolte’s lead began to shrink as Howe closed the 5-second gap down to just under a second before Nolte opted to make his pit stop. With Howe taking the lead, she put down the quickest laps of the race and held that lead through her pit stop cycle, coming out ahead of Nolte. She went on to win the race, with Nolte 7 seconds behind in P2.
A spin for Carlile entering turn 10 just before his pit stop halted his progress, but still managed to salvage a P3 finish, allowing +MVT Racing to take podiums in both races for the weekend. Matt Zee finished in P7 after a spin on the exit of turn 5, and suffering left front damage from unavoidable contact with van Stevelen.
The Mermaids Charity Sprint Series is off next week, but will resume on December 5th at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
CARLILE – Race 1: P3 /// Race 2: P3
NOLTE – Race 1: P2 /// Race 2: P2
ZEE – Race 1: DNS /// Race 2: P7
Top 5 Points Standings after Round 5
|5||Lia van Stevelen||92|